The San Francisco Giants defeated the Detroit Tigers 8-3 to win game one of the World Series. I could discuss the big plays in the game or go over decisions that were or were not made, but that seems wasted on this blowout. Instead, I thought it would be more fun to look at how bad my prediction for the series looks right now. Yes, it is only one game, but it is borderline comical how many of my predictions were totally the opposite in game one.
So, let’s start big picture. I picked the Tigers to win the series in five games. While that is still possible, the odds took a dramatic hit. I also thought the only game the Giants would win would be the one started by Matt Cain. Wrong again. Barry Zito gave up one run on six hits over five and two thirds innings to win game one. Talk about finally earning that big contract. His counterpart, Justin Verlander, gave up five runs on six hits in four innings. For one game we can say so much for all of that data showing how the Tigers starters were far superior to the Tigers starters. The stats flipped and then some.
I also loved the Tigers offense entering this series. Nothing has changed. I still love their offense, but the scripts flipped again. The Tigers were supposed to have all the power, but only had a late, inconsequential homer from Jhonny Peralta. The Giants were supposed to struggle power wise. I made a big deal about the power discrepancy and then had it shoved in my face Pablo Sandoval who hit three homeruns. Seriously? He hits 12 all year and then goes deep three times in game one? It is as though someone read my blog and wanted me to look foolish.
One thing I did get right was the Tigers bullpen problems, especially those of Jose Valverde. After giving up two runs in a third of an inning, you have to wonder if the Tigers can even use Valverde anymore this postseason. I did say the layoff could be a factor. I’m grasping at straws here, but it is something. The Giants bullpen was good for the most part so I can claim a small victory there I suppose.
So, is the series over? No. Am I still confident that the Tigers can win the series? I am not so sure. I don’t want to be a prisoner of the moment, but it is getting hard to see how the Tigers can slow the Giants momentum down. You’ve got Zito turning the clock back, Sandoval finding power, a defense that is improving with each game, and a bullpen which continues to shut the door on games late. That being said, I still like the Tigers to win. I have to believe the Tigers will hit in this series. They are too good not to. The Tigers starters will pitch well. The Giants will struggle to find offense when they don’t have three homeruns from Sandoval. I’m not abandoning my pick, but it will be very interesting to see how this series progresses.